Kolkata: Bengal climbed to the lead spot in their group with a magnificent 7-1 win over a helpless Mizoram in the quarterfinal league of the 64th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Monday.
Shankar Oraon (8th and 55th minutes) and Gouranga Dutta (28th and 38th minutes) struck twice each, while Tariff Ahmed (44th), Jayanta Sen (83rd) and substitute Nilender Dewan (90th) contributed once each to show the exit door to Mizoram.
The North East side struck the only goal through F Lalmuanpuia in the 67th minute as they picked their second consecutive loss in group B.
In the first group B league match of the day, Tamil Nadu scored through M Ramesh in the dying minutes to hold Delhi 1-1.
Following a goalless first-half, Delhi went ahead in the 81st minute with substitute David Ngaihte scoring the goal.
But Delhi looked complacent and their defence fragile, as they failed to retain their lead as Tamil Nadu took seven minutes to equalise.
In group B, Bengal replaced Tamil Nadu on the lead with goal difference with both teams on four points each.
Delhi slipped to third spot, while Mizoram are yet to open the account to see themselves out of the competition.
Toying with Mizoram’s defence, Bengal took an early lead when the forward duo of Tariff Ahmed and Shankar Oraon combined well to open the account for the hosts.
Mizoram defender Zaidinmawia Hmar failed to clear the ball as Oraon utilised Ahmed’s cross from the left to find the target without any fuss.
Bengal could have easily made it 3-0 as they missed a couple of easy sitters midway into the first-half, even as Mizoram’s defence was nowhere to be seen.
But soon the floodgates opened for Bengal with Gouranga, scoring two back to back goals to put Bengal right on top.
In a 28th minute move, Snehasish’s beautiful centre was capitalised by Gouranga who head it home to make it 2-0.
Mizoram’s miseries compounded with Gouranga again finding the back of the net 10 minutes later.
Ahmed looked to utilise an Oraon centre but his miss gave Gouranga an opportunity to earn his brace as he converted with equal ease.
Down 0-3, Mizoram scurried for covers with Bengal piling on their goal glut.
A comedy of errors by Mizoram’s defenders in the 44th minute saw Bengal take a commanding 4-0 lead.
Ahmed finally put his name on the scoresheet when he scored from a folly by Mizoram defender Hmar.
There was no respite for Mizoram after the changeover as Oraon struck easily in the 55th minute with the opponent’s goalkeeper Danny Lalrohlua out of place to make it a five-star show.
To make matters worse, Mizoram were reduced to 10-man in the 75th minute when referee A Arjunan sent marching orders to Lalrinfela after a rough tackle with Bengal defenders.
Bengal struck the sixth goal when Sen tackled Mizoram’s defence to score beautifully in the 83rd.
Brought in place of Ahmed in the 63rd minute, Dewan struck their seventh goal with a brilliant tackle in front of the goalmouth in the 90th minute.
In between, Mizoram scored a consolation goal through F Lamuanpuia in the 67th.
Earlier, the capital boys had a similar fate in their first group B league match against hosts Bengal who struck late in the second half to deny Delhi three points.
Having beaten Mizoram 2-0 in their first outing, Tamil Nadu looked to score in the 23rd minute when P C Riju’s shot was saved by Delhi goalkeeper Pronoy Roy.
Tamil Nadu had another chance to go up two minutes later but T H Pathiban hit the horizontal crosspiece as both teams took a cautious approach to see a goalless first-half.
After the changeover, Delhi came close to scoring in the 57th when Mohender Singh’s right footer from inside the box was saved by Tamil Nadu goalkeeper A Arun Pradeep.
Ngaihte was brought in place of Mohinder in the 71st minute as he went on to give Delhi the lead 10 minutes after his substitution.
Following a shot pass from the right, Ngaihte beat an off-side trap to give Delhi the lead.
But Delhi – like in their last match against Bengal – failed to retain the lead with Tamil Nadu stepping on the gas towards the later half.
Ramesh, who was brought in place of C S Sabeeth in the 70th minute, scored with a curling right-footer to deny Delhi three points as both the teams settle for one each.
The winners and runners-up of the group will battle it out with the top two teams from group A in the knockout semifinals to be held on August 6.